Hunt Holly- Broad Axe, PA

Not too far from John S. Rex's property,y that is now a wedding venue called "The Manor House at Prophecy Creek," is a property called "Hunt Holly."

It's unknown why this property was named "Hunt Holly." I'm certain there is a reason. Now that I'm mentioning this, I never knew how the other names of the properties I've researched had their names. Was it named after something? Nature, possibly? A person?

Whenever I see this house while driving on Skippack Pike, I thought this place was old. But it wasn't that old based on my research and through looking at historic maps. The earliest map I could find of this property was from 1893. It's unclear who owned this property. It looked it the name "Reder" owned it, but how long?

Montgomery County 1893, Whitpain and Worcester Townships, Bethel Hill, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Washington Square, Broad Axe Left; J.L. Scott, Publisher

When looking at the 1916 map, it made the house easier to read and interpret. The house was colored in yellow, meaning it was a frame-structured building with a porch and possibly a farm from the backyard. Overtime, it was altered/added with an additional porch, and it was possibly covered in white stucco.

I only got to see the front facade of the house from Google Maps, and what I could only see was a triangular pediment over the front door, two gabled dormers on the south front facade, and one gabled dormer on the other side. I think there's a chimney located in the center of the house. The overall look is more Colonial Revival because of the common features I would see in traditional colonial homes, with modern architectural features.

I was told by my professor from Temple University that I should not rely on real estate websites that said when the houses were built because they were inaccurate. He's not wrong. I had experience with that for the Frank Shuman house (check out this project in the "Projects" tab). Those websites said that the Frank Shuman house was built in 1910, even though on the house date marker, it was built in 1895. I found a couple of real estate websites that said the same year when this house was built: 1920.

If this house was built in 1920, then why did I see this house in the 1916 map, 4 years before 1920?

I would have to say that this building was built possibly in the 1890s, based on the 1893 map. It looks like it was newly built during that time. It makes sense it's Colonial Revival because I've seen a couple of houses in that style in Whitpain Township. It's pretty common.

Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., 1916, Plate 28; A. H. Mueller, Publisher
Clipping from the Ambler Gazette: June 13, 1918

In terms of who owned this house, it was unclear who owned it first. Luckily, I was able to find some information about "Caroline B. Dunham" who owned this house during the 1910s/20s. She was born in 1864, and died in 1943. I did a random search of the "Hunt Holly" house in the Ambler Gazette archives, and I found only one column that featured not only the name of the property, but also the owner herself.

Her name was featured in a column called "Local Dogs Win Prizes."

She participated in the 8th annual "Gwynedd Vally Kennel Club Show in Ambler" with possibly someone else. Notice how it said, "The Misses Dunham."

All we know is that she had a St. Bernard, which is a big dog. A VERY big dog.

In terms of personality, Caroline Dunham was the kind of person who liked to get involved in the community.

Google Satellite Plan View: 111 W Skippack Pike, Ambler, PA 19002
Google Satellite Birdseye View: Looking North


"Distance Calculator." DaftLogic. Accessed June 4, 2020.

McAlester, Virginia Savage. A Field Guilde to American Houses. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017): 409-432.

Mueller, A. H. Atlas of the North Penn Section of Montgomery County, Pa., Plate 28, 1916.

Smith, J. L. Montgomery County 1893, Whitpain and Worcester Townships, Bethel Hill, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Washington Square, Broad Axe Left, 1893.

"Wissahickon Valley Public Library's Ambler Gazette Collection." POWER Library: Pennsylvania's Electronic Library. Accessed June 4, 2020.

#pahistory #whitpain #ambler #broadaxe #skippackpike #historicpreservation #architecture #colonialrevival #realestaterror #amblergazette


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